Sperm Whale, © Robin Friend

Instagram Takeover – Robin Friend

London based Photographer Robin Friend takes over our Instagram account to share his series Bastard Countryside.

For fifteen years, Robin Friend explored the edgelands of the UK looking for places that inhabited a magical sadness and what Victor Hugo described as “that kind of bastard countryside, somewhat ugly but bizarre, made up of two different natures…the end of the beaten track, the beginning of the passions, the end of the murmur of things divine, the beginning of the noise of humankind”.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Hi everyone, Robin Friend @robinfriendstudio showing a few more from ‘Bastard Countryside’ before I finish up with the takeover. I return to this shipwreck in Cornwall every other year to see how it’s doing. It’s been there since 2003 which is coincidentally when I started making Bastard Countryside pictures. This project was a slow burner but for me that was important. I needed that time for the ideas to fully germinate and the places and objects to reveal themselves. I made this particular picture a decade ago – today is looks very different. It’s slowly bleeding out and decomposing into the landscape, turning everything around it a red rusty ochre. I once spent the night on it. I thought it would be a cool thing to do. I was naïve. It looks really calm, but that’s because of the double exposure and the effect of the cloudy sea. It was actually fucking scary. #photoworks_uk #robinfriend #instagramtakeover #IGTakeover #photography

A post shared by Photoworks (@photoworks_uk) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Hi everyone, Robin Friend @robinfriendstudio showing a few more from ‘Bastard Countryside’ before I sign off. Mapperley Tunnel is one of the last remaining Victorian train tunnels in Nottingham that hasn’t been completely blocked up. The second air shaft which is on private land and roughly 500 meters from the main entrance has been used as what can only be described as a massive rubbish bin. I had tried to make this picture a couple of years before, but I wasn’t happy with the results. The difficulty about this particular site is there is no natural light and water is constantly pouring through the cracks in the ceiling. On this occasion I had an assistant with me which was fortuitous given that the tunnel entrance had been gated off since my last visit. Luckily we found a small hole in the fence and were able to shimmy through, passing one piece of kit through at a time. The ‘divine’ that Victor Hugo spoke about is strangely present in this shift-shaping, rather beautiful yet disgusting inverted mushroom cloud of crapolia! #photoworks_uk #robinfriend #instagramtakeover #IGTakeover #photography

A post shared by Photoworks (@photoworks_uk) on

The project was just published by Loose Joints as Bastard Countryside. Central to this story is the struggle between humanity and nature, two contrasting forces fighting for control. But there’s also a part of Bastard Countryside that resides someplace else; in a fictive realm that gestures towards some unknown, a less certain landscape. With a feeling of things left behind and what is still to come, these pictures tap into our cultural anxiety of what the future holds and how we are leaving this planet broken for generations to come.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

“Despite the secrecy surrounding activities at Manod, locals were employed to help look after the site and some National Gallery staff accommodated nearby.  Assistant Keeper, Martin Davies, undertook much of his catalogue research during the four years that the paintings were in the mine, where they were easily accessible for close examination. The natural climate within the caves created perfect conditions for the paintings, and information gathered during this time was to prove valuable for future conservation research. These recent photographs show the interior of Manod, the now abandoned slate mine in Snowdonia, where the National Gallery stored its paintings for safety during the Second World War. Evoking feelings of wonder and claustrophobia, the images convey the way in which these subterranean spaces have been reclaimed by the mountain. Avalanches of slate overwhelm the brick structures on which great masterpieces once hung, and water floods the cavernous chambers, once busy with people. Over the last decade, Robin Friend’s work has focused on the pathos and mystery of this underground sanctuary and other abandoned mines in north Wales. Often working in complete darkness, with only the aid of a handheld torch, he uses ropes, harnesses and inflatable dinghies to obtain the right shot. His work discloses our uneasy relationship with the natural world as well as conveying the magic of the enclosed and labyrinthine world beneath our feet.” (2/2) Text by Dr Minna Moore Ede, National Gallery curator. #photoworks_uk #robinfriend #instagramtakeover #IGTakeover #photography

A post shared by Photoworks (@photoworks_uk) on

Friend’s work has been exhibited in galleries and fairs globally ranging from Aperture Gallery in New York to the Pingyao Photography Festival in China, Christies in Paris and at the National Gallery, Somerset House and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. His work has been collected by the Martin Parr Foundation and included in many private collections around the world.

Follow us on Instagram instagram.com/photoworks_uk

For more of Robin’s work, click here.